BUENA VISTA, Va. The Southern Virginia University Knights Men's Tennis team improved to 4-3 with wins at Randolph, Bluefield and Central Virginia and a defeat at Emory and Henry the past two weeks. The contests saw the young Knights, with only two players back from last year's team; post some impressive victories in both singles and doubles from both the veterans and the newcomers. After losing six players from last year's team, including two to graduation and three to missions, Coach Tony Caputo wasn't quite sure how this new group would compete but led by returners Stefan Vlassek and Phillip Whiteley they have bounced back nicely from a difficult first weekend at Virginia Beach.
On Monday September 28th the Knights traveled to Lynchburg to take on the Wildcats of Randolph College. Captains Stefan Vlassek and Phillip Whiteley paired to top the doubles team of Ben See and Carl Coffey of the Wildcats by a pro set score of 8-1 to win the #1 doubles match. Freshmen David Cotter of Fishkill, New York and Brian Stant of Hampton, Virginia also won at #2 doubles by a score of 8-2. Vlassek and Whiteley followed up their doubles win by cruising through both of their singles matches in straight sets. David Cotter, however, played in the closest match of the day. Cotter prevailed in split sets versus his opponent Tashi Dhondup by a score of 7-5, 1-6, and a tiebreaker of 10-2. The freshman from New York sprained his ankle early in the second set and had to find a different approach to winning in the tiebreaker. Randolph College was playing shorthanded and had to default some of the lower seeds and SVU ended up on the good side of the 9-0 score.
The Knights traveled the next day to take on the Rams of Bluefield College at Bluefield Virginia. On a cold blustery day in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia the Knights came out on top again this time by a tally of 6-3. The Knights took two of the three doubles matches with Stefan Vlassek and David Cotter teaming this time at #1 doubles to win 8-4 and Phillip Whiteley pairing with Brian Stant at #2 doubles to win 8-3. The singles matches would be much more closely contested with the exception of #1 singles where Junior Stefan Vlassek defeated Senior and past high school state champion Pace Snow in straight sets by scores of 6-1 and 6-3. Vlassek had his serve working nicely and followed it up with some great play at the net. In a replay from last spring Phillip Whiteley again defeated Tyler Eastep this time at #2 singles by a score of 6-3 and 6-4. David Cotter again playing on somewhat of a weak ankle lost to Matt Moore by a score of 6-4 and 6-4. The match site had been double booked with Bluefield State College and Concord so it had been moved back to Bluefield's campus which meant there would not be time for a regular three set singles match with the lower seeds so a pro set was agreed upon. After SVU lost at #4 singles they needed a win at either #5 or #6 to win the match. Newcomers Andrew Brandt of Oldenburg, Indiana and Christopher Rogers of Midlothian, Virginia were called upon to win their first ever singles competitions. Both came through with great performances Brandt winning at #5 singles by a score 8-3 and Rogers winning at #6 by a score 8-7 (8-6).
The Knights wound up their fall campaign with matches at Central Virginia where the won by a score of 6-3 and at Emory and Henry where they were blanked a very strong ODAC squad 9-0. The Knights are now off until the spring season which begins March 1, 2010.